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Column: Did Washington Not Understand ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious?

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

After talking to some folks and watching the latest Congressional hearings on ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious, I’m beginning to think the Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley aren’t going to find what they’re looking for — that is:

Who at the Justice Department gave the Ok for the operation — at least knowingly? The two politicians have been hammering away at that, trying to find out the answer during Congressional inquiries.

The reason I say that is because the sense I’m getting — and granted I could be wrong —  is that William Newell, head of the ATF Phoenix division during the operation, was briefing folks on Operation Fast and Furious directly or indirectly at the Justice Department and the White House.

Problem was, those folks didn’t really understand the full scope of the operation. And consequently, Newell figured he had the full blessing of Washington, when in fact, Washington didn’t understand fully what it was blessing him with.

For those of you who haven’t been following it closely, the operation encouraged gun dealers in Arizona to sell to straw purchasers or middlemen, all with the hopes of tracing the guns to the Mexican cartels. ATF lost track of some guns, and some surfaced at crimes scenes on both side of the the border.

So in the end, the real question, perhaps to be answered, isn’t who blessed the operation in Washington, but rather why folks in Washington didn’t understand what Operation Fast and Furious was all about.

I’m just sayin.

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